R.I.P Tommy

Monday May 30, 2011, is a day most Australian’s will never forget. It is the day images of unimaginable, yet no less real cruelty eked out in Indonesian slaughterhouses towards Australian animals burst forth from our TV screens. The ABC’s Four Corners screening of ‘A bloody business’, moved compassionate Australians like never before. No other issue in Australian history has witnessed such an outpouring of emotion. 12 months on and our voices have been heard but Australian animals destined for live export still need our support. We must remind our politicians that we will never forgot Tommy, Bill, Dudley, Brian and Arthur and that they did not die in vain.

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While Government suspension of the trade ensued it was followed by the resumption of live exports with attempts to placate concerns by an Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System(ESCAS). The industry was thrown a life line it did not deserve and has failed to live up to. Recent footage by Animals Australia has shown failures in this system. Enough is enough. Please take a moment to see what has been achieved and what you can still do to show you care, Animals Australia, the organisation who has worked tirelessly to expose this cruel trade have prepared a most informative and easy to use tool kit for action. http://www.animalsaustralia.org/live-export

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. Margaret Mead

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Five school, five days, one message – be kind to animals!

Education week runs from 20-26 of May and once again Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary was proud to be invited to be a part of this innovative initiative. Celebrating the week with either an in school visit or on farm activity were students from Diamond Creek Primary School, Whittlesea Secondary College, Spensley St Primary School, Assumption College and Kingston Heath Primary School.

Polly Pig, star animal ambassador from Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary trotted into school yards across the state accompanied by her human companions.  Students were treated to an informative and thought provoking session, learning about the work of this not for profit sanctuary and how culture, language and the media influence people’s attitude towards animals.

“Polly is always a hit wherever she goes” said Polly’s proud guardian and founder of Edgar’s Mission, Pam Ahern “and we believe that humane education is the key to a better world for all. This is achieved by empowering the decision makers of tomorrow with knowledge and sound reason while encouraging empathy, justice and compassion.”

Polly rounded out her school yard adventures rooting deeply into her repertoire of tricks that would leave most dogs wanting as she sat on command, offered a trotter shake, rolled out her carpet and fetched her toy from her toy box and even put it away when finished!  “Seeing pigs this way I am sure will cause many to never look at pigs the same way again” said Pam.

“Celebrating and embracing differences it what makes our society great.  We realise that regardless of gender, color of one’s skin, the religion one follows or even the foods one eats, we all are the same on the inside” told Pam “and coming to know farmed animals the way I have, I have come to realise that the shape these animals come in, the familiarity we have with them or the use we have of them is really no basis for treating them any differently than we do our domestic pets”

Education Week runs  from 20 – 26 of May and is a calendar of free events happening across Victoria.  It will see hundreds of government schools and kindergartens hold open days and other special events.  For further information about Education Week visit the official website at: www.education.vic.gov.au/educationweek

If you would like us to visit your school please click here.

 

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Hope and Monique

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Feel the love this winter and get Vegucated!!

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Edgar’s Mission Farm Sanctuary proudly presents a screening of the award winning documentary Vegucated along with the release of our loveable new Edgar’s Mission merchandise.

Vegucated is an award winning documentary that follows three meat eaters over a six week challenge to follow a strict vegan diet. Before long, they find themselves risking everything to expose an industry they supported just weeks before. But can their conviction carry them when times get tough?

“Food is culture. Food is emotion. Food is one way that we communicate our values, priorities, and ideals. It comprises a large part of how we interact with each other, and if you rock that boat by being different, then get your fork ready; whether you’d like to or not, you’re about to get into a food fight.” Marisa Miller Wolfson, Vegucated Director

Gold coin donation at the door which includes finger food and refreshments.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A session with Mark Doneddu, President of Vegetarian Victoria.

Date:        Friday June 15th
Address:   Kindness House, 288 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne.
Time:        Doors open 6.30pm for a 7.15pm start

Please invite family members/friends and help get them Vegucated! Bring along a meat eating friend and you will go into the draw to win a brand new Edgar’s Mission merchandise pack including a t-shirt, bag and cap!

Vegucated FAQ’s

Bookings are essential as seats are limited to 100 – Please RSVP to kyle@edgarsmission.org.au

Below is a sneak peak of some of our brand new merchandise available on the night.

A special thanks to Made by White for designing our funky new merchandise range!

Sheep and Pig Brooch hand made by Made by White

Edgar's Mission and Duck Brooch hand made by Made by White

Kindness Necklace and Chicken Brooch hand made by Made by White

Organic Edgar's Mission t-shirt with quote on back

Organic and fair-trade Edgar's Mission Bag

Organic and fair-trade Edgar's Mission Satchel

Edgar's Mission cap and sticker

 

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Nancy Duckling

Saturday Smiles :) Love Nancy Duckling

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If a robin redbreast in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage, How feels heaven when dies the billionth battery hen?

Mahatma Gandhi once said “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history”. Today that course has been altered thanks to the brave and undying efforts of Tasmanian animal advocates and visionary members of parliament. Consigning battery hen cages and sow stalls to the dust bin of human history is long overdue. Moreover, this groundbreaking decision sets a precedent for other Australian States to join the 21st century and recognize that animals lives matter.  We here at Edgar’s Mission would especially like to thank and congratulate Tasmanian MP’s Bryan Green(ALP) and Nick McKim (Tasmanian Greens), our friends Animals Australia, Emma Haswell and all at Brightside Farm Sanctuary along with Pam Clark, who long ago and despite all odds stood firm and said this is wrong.

If you live in a state other than Tasmania please act today and urge your state minister responsible for agriculture to give animals a reason to live.  Banning battery cages for hens and sow stalls for mother pigs is a great start. Together we can change the world!

Please click here to see a sample letter and find out who your elected minister is.

 

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Mother’s Day through the lens of a cow

Today is Mother’s Day and I spent a large part of it in the Bourke Street Mall in a cow suit.  A sign around my neck a stark reminder of why I was there, “I’m a mother too” it read.  So I came, albeit for a few short hours, to view the world through the lens of a cow.  I was struck by the many and varied attitudes from people passing by and how they mirrored the same attitudes people have towards mother cows and all farmed animals.  Some people defiantly pretended not to notice a rather large cow in their path offering them a leaflet and a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ cheerio, or perhaps they really didn’t notice, so consumed in the passion of their next purchase.

Some children insistently delighted in pulling my tail, despite my protests ‘you’ll break it’.  Others on seeing a really large cow suited person were heard to cry ‘hey, quick take my picture’ to their friends as they rushed to hug the cow, offering an obligatory peace sign.  But most politely took a leaflet and from my distorted view I could see many stop, smiling inquisitively as they read about the cute little calf named  Hansel who innocently peered back at them.  The picture told that Hansel was one in a million and posed the question ‘want to know why?’ Some pensively turning to the back to find the answer, others folded up the leaflet for later reading.  Perhaps wounded by the new found awareness that indeed cows were mothers too who dearly loved their babies and suffered from the loss by separation and human complicity to this, some people returned to learn a little more.

Coming to know cows as I do was all the reason I needed to be where I was today – to make a plea to human decency that we can do better.  Cows are naturally cheerful and innocently inquisitive.  They form strong and ongoing bonds with those they like and will harbour grudges against those they don’t.  Cows have a keen sense of smell, so watch out if you come bearing concealed wheetbix in your bag.  It won’t only be the piggies you’ll have to keep an eye out for.  Their babies, given the chance, will play together and mother cows will even form a nursery-like alliance allowing others to wander off while they look after the crèche.  Stories abound of cows who have walked over great distances to find their separated calves.  And they like to spend their days eating grass, chewing cud and looking into the distance having peaceful ‘cow’ thoughts.   Sadly, it is often this facade of nonchalance that causes people to think cows are dull and dim, yet their world is an emotional one.  Of happy, sad, and even ‘eureka’ moments when they find something new and interesting, or solve a problem.  All these things are supported by science not just anecdote.  In short cows really are ‘cool’!

Today may have been bitterly cold, wet and miserable, albeit the suit kept me warm, I was hungry, and it was unpleasant standing with my large cow head constantly flopping forward and obscuring my view, but at day’s end, I got to go home, hang with friends and wish my mum a happy Mother’s Day.  Something so few cows ever get to do…

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Friends

Compassion, loyalty, forgiveness, affection and love- are all found in abundance in the animal kingdom. Animals touch our lives in so many profound and beautiful ways, they speak to our hearts and minds of a gentle and kind way of living, of not harming others.  I really don’t think it is the want of any decent human being to wish to harm or cause harm to others, human or non human. One of our greatest lessons will be, can we too learn to get along as they do?

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Wish list of the month – new projector

A huge thank you to everyone who has expressed an interest in helping us with a new projector! We have been heartened by your response and it means a lot to us that Edgar’s Mission means so much to you.  Many have asked just what type of projector we are after, and after much consideration we have determined, that with your support we can obtain a start of the art projector that will service our needs most fully.  One of the difficulties we have faced is finding a projector that works brilliantly in daylight, as many of our school or farm presentations are during the day, to this need we have settled on a BenQ MX717 which is available for us at the special price of $1100 from our friends at TECS.

If you would like to contribute towards our new projector please click here to donate. Any additional funds will be directed towards our Humane Education Program.

Together we can change the world and we thank you in advance for your support!

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Today is International Respect for Chickens Day!

Use this as your Facebook profile pic by right clicking and save the image to your computer, then upload it to your Facebook account and spread your love for chickens

Chickens are inquisitive, intelligent, affectionate and fun loving creatures, they have cognitive abilities that rival some cats and dogs and they outnumber humans more than 6 to 1.  So where are they?  With over 43 billion chickens on the planet today, most live their short and unnatural lives either crammed into tiny wire cages or confined into ammonia ridden sheds.  Chickens are indeed amongst the most maligned and abused land animals today.  And the only reason they are treated like this is because people buy the products of their suffering.

We know in our society the harshest penalty we afford those who transgress our laws is to lock them away in prison, we take away their liberty and we take away the things that give their life meaning and purpose.  Yet we do these things to gentle chickens and call it industry, simply because we can however we can choose not to do this and we can do better! Here are some fun, creative and delicious ways to make the world a kinder place for all!

UPDATE: See how the Edgar’s Mission resident chickens celebrated here.

Check out some recipes below and also visit these links:

Scrambled Tofu by Vegan Easy

200g tofu, crumbled
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 tsp tamari
2 tsp savoury yeast flakes
½ tsp turmeric
2-3 tbsp water
Chopped fresh parsley and/or chives to garnish
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil for frying

Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan. Fry onion and tofu for a minute or two.

Add tamari, yeast flakes, turmeric and water to pan and fry for a further minute.

Remove from heat and stir through the fresh herbs. Add cracked black pepper to taste.

Berry Pancakes by Vegan Easy

Pancakes
1 cup self raising flour
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 teaspoon egg replacer
1 tablespoon water

Berry mix
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar

Put the berries in a small pan, add the sugar or agave syrup and place over a low heat. Cook gently until berries are soft.

Mix together flour and salt. Combine the egg replacer and water then add the margarine, maple syrup and soy milk and mix thoroughly. Add the wet mixture to the flour and whisk until smooth.

Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Brush pan with a little oil and then pour in about ⅓ to ½ cup of the pancake mixture. Each pancake should be about 4-5 inches across. Spread into a round shape with the back of a spoon if necessary.

Cook pancake on one side then gently loosen with a spatula and flip over. The pancakes should take about 1-2 minutes on each side and be golden brown when cooked. Keep pancakes warm between kitchen paper when cooked.

Pile pancakes on a plate and spoon over the warm berries. Drizzle over extra maple syrup if required.

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Competition of the Month

Timmy & Macho are having a chat

What are Timmy and Macho chatting about? Leave a funny comment below for your chance to win an Edgar’s Mission prize!!! :)

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Mirrors

I recently had the good fortune to take a friend’s advice and go and see their recommended “you’ll love this must see movie Pam!” For someone who hadn’t been to the pictures for, well, um I’m not sure how long, oh yes that’s right, 2006, I welcomed the chance to just sit for more than a minute. And how could I forget that world premiere event Charlotte’s Web where Burpy (better known to the world as Wilbur) trotted down the red carpet in the arms of Dakota Fanning, stopping off for photographs, cuddles and a well concealed pee!!

While Charlotte’s Web caused many to rethink their relationship with pigs, Buck, the movie would cause many to rethink not only their relationship with another animal, namely horses, it would moreover cause many to look a little deeper into their own soul.

Buck was the real life tale of Buck Brannaman described as a true American cowboy and hero. He travels the world in what he describes as helping horses with people problems and he has had phenomenal success in doing so. As someone who became enchanted by this most noble of beasts the first time I saw one I am truly grateful people such as Buck exist. While Buck’s statement

“Your horse is a mirror to your soul, and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.”

is very telling, I feel it more broadly applies to our relationship with all the entire animal kingdom.

The movie poignantly moved through some of Buck’s life, from his Dickensian childhood where his brutal, domineering and demanding father forced him and his brother to perform rope tricks, to the ‘horse whisperer’ who champions a better deal for horses. With Buck being one of the inspirations for the movie, The Horse Whisperer which earned him the respect of Hollywood actor Robert Redford.

One of Buck’s messages in the movie, although simplistic in words so often proves difficult in deed – the need for us to put our emotions, moods and personal goals behind when we engage with a prey species who relies on us for just about everything. We are responsible for how they live, what they do, what they eat and even how and when they die. Buck’s message that animals are not meant to be slaves resonated beautifully with me, and that empathy was the key to a successful relationship with an animal whose life we had so altered from their wild ancestors.

Buck is quick to point out the anomaly in using the term natural horsemanship, as he explains there isn’t really anything natural about taking a prey animal, strapping the skin of another dead prey animal to its back then a predator jumping on their back as well. Riding a horse involves the greatest degree of trust, and the success of doing this should be based on empathy and kindness, not threats and punishment. Sadly though, the later has become the hallmark for much of our relationship with equines.

I gave credit to the producers of the film and real life individuals for including the raw emotions and the telling tales people experienced on their journey with Buck. For me, the most haunting memory was of the lady who had bred several horses and had kept around 18 stallions. From her Pollyanna world she clearly was way out of her depth and failing them badly with one young colt paying the ultimate price. Buck pulled no punches when he relayed that the horse was now a victim of her actions and that she had created an unpredictable time-bomb monster which she was not able to handle and she could well have ended up getting killed. While many will condemn what followed, and I too moved uncomfortably in my seat, it is worth considering that it is easy for us to tout the high moral ground when few would be in a position to accommodate what this woman had created. So what do we do in these most difficult situations? I have no doubt Buck could have worked with this horse and achieved a good outcome, investing countless hours, days and even months at the expense of all his other commitments, but where do we draw the line and should he be the one to bear the brunt of the failings of others? These are indeed the most difficult questions, and the answer far simpler if we were talking about a car that had been driven into the ground and simply needed a new motor, but we are not.
At that heart stopping moment it was difficult not to reflect on the many calls I have had from individuals over the years who too have failed animals so badly, with the caller wishing to pass on the legacy of their actions to Edgar’s Mission, oft times with the words “I don’t care if you have XXX put to sleep so long as I don’t have to do it”. For this reason it is no accident that the very first quote we have on the kindness trail comes from Antoine de Saint-Exupery and reads

“Many have forgotten this truth, but you must not forget it. You remain responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

I truly believe we humans can have wonderful, rich, and mutually beneficial relationships with animals. Even as a write this piece, my little dog ET, sits by my side, when I leave the room for a minute, he trots right there along with me for no other reason than he likes to ‘hang’ with a ‘me’, the human. We can share our lives with animals and do this with honour and dignity, albeit we are not going too good on that score so far, but we can do better, a lot better and we should. Not only for them but for us, to be the best we can.
Buck was not a movie solely for horse lovers, it’s message casts a far bigger net and the greatest message that I hope people take from seeing the movie and even visiting Edgar’s Mission, is that whether it is a horse, cat, dog or cow, that comes into our life, this is not complete without our responsibility for and duty to that animal. Not just for food and shelter, medication and grooming, and a life worth living but education on boundaries and making good decisions for them. Animals are not motor cars we can repair, or library books we can return, nor are they surrogate children, they are unique individuals shaped by their own biology, evolution and experience and how we treat them is indeed a mirror to our soul.

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